To my friends and relatives that still think President Trump is wonderful
You have probably been told that I am a rabid Trump hater and you can’t talk to me. For the record, I do hate B*l S*t! I don’t hate Trump, I just think he is ill prepared for the job and that is the primary reason I was never a supporter. For starters, he has never held a single office, not small-town mayor, representative, governor, school board, senator …zilch. I was supposed to consider this a good thing and consider him fit for the highest office in the land because he was a businessman? I do not watch much TV; I have never seen celebrity apprentice and was not all that familiar with Trump. So, like I do before every election, I read… usually I read the books the candidates themselves are pushing and newspapers, lots of newspapers, and when I find something that is interesting, or unbelievable, I look at other sources, transcripts etc. When you find that this great businessman had 4 companies go bankrupt, yeah s*t happens, but you learn from it and do not make the same mistake 3 more times. So, the fact that he was a businessman did not impress me, it seemed he was not all that good at it. Start with a large chunk of family $ and still go bankrupt multiple times? And his businesses were primarily real estate, something that does not necessarily translate to being good at governing. His clothing line was all made in China. My husband has shirts and ties, quality is OK but all were made in China. When I heard the ‘grab them by the pussy’ line, I honestly thought it was B.S. because I had never heard of Billy Bush. It was brushed off as “locker room talk” by his supporters, so I thought is was something that was said as 20 year old frat boy or a single guy out there being a jerk. The transcript is available, He was 58 years old and newly married to a beautiful woman. That is the context. So yes, from the beginning I was not a fan. And then came Covid 19.
I do research for a living. Over the years, I have built a pretty good B.S detector. If you tell me “did you hear what so and so said about education”? I look up the entire speech, get the context of what was being said and then decide pros and cons. I rarely watch TV news, any station. I do not take much at face value.
Fact: the 1st time Trump told us we had fantastic testing capabilities, and everyone could get tested, I was still at work, a research hospital. The local health system’s testing was not up and running completely. We were still sending specimens to Palo Alto CA (from Pittsburgh PA) and had at least a 6 day wait for the results of our great testing. I did not get this info from ‘hateful mainstream media’ I got it directly from a hospital doctor waiting for a test result. Soon, Trump was telling us we could all send specimens to Quest and Labcorp, what a great public/private cooperative. But —they did not have the capacity and instead of admitting it and sending samples on to another facility, the commercial lab kept accepting samples, at one time they had a backlog of over 150,000 samples and had up to a 10 day delay. Because yay free enterprise? This should not happen in a national emergency. This is the exact reason why we declare national emergencies and activate a response team. There are logistics people out there (military has a lot of logistics people) that were not called in until much later…the 1st notices of virus, first U.S. case January 2020. This administration did not treat it like the emergency that it was and yes they knew it was bad in China, even if China downplayed the extent of disease, it was known to be dangerous, the WHO had the gene sequence in January, there are American doctors at the WHO, there are at least 3 U.S. doctors on the WHO emergency preparedness response administrative team, at least 2 are in Washington D.C., the administration was informed regularly back in January 2020. And yet, we put out our 1st spreadsheet with a map and testing capacity this week! April 20, 2020! more than a month after it was really, really, clear that there was a problem? This is not how we should respond to an emergency. Every delay in testing results, made it harder to contain, to trace contacts and to stop things before it became a major problem. Had there been timely testing, you could have traced all the early contacts and not had to shut down the country. When you have a 10-day delay before you know someone is positive, it means that what would have been maybe 10 people to quarantine, it had expanded to thousands and overwhelmed the ability to trace contacts.
How tracing works: You give Corey Covid a ride in your Lyft car, the next day, he gets sick, and gets tested and with same day results, you know you were exposed and should not keep driving people around; stay home and the virus transmission stops with you and maybe your household if you are not really careful. A 6 day delay means you don’t know you were exposed and 3-14 days after you drove Mr covid, you have the virus and you can spread it up to 3 days before you get sick and unknown how long if you don’t get sick (we still haven’t done enough testing on ‘not sick’ people to know for sure). At any rate, because no positive test on Mr covid yet, you don’t know that you have been exposed so you keep driving ~5 people a day, so even if it’s only for 3 days you have exposed 15 riders and each of them got dropped off someplace to expose more people, so by the time that result gets back in 6 days… there could be over 1000 of people to follow up on and the system fails. If each of your 15 riders exposed only 5 people and each of them 5 etc 15x5x5x5=1875. Math! So now tracing is more complicated and becomes more difficult with each day, so testing with fast turnaround time is important. If you want to open the country back up, you must be able to get the results, fast and accurately to prevent a 2nd wave.
NO reason that a comprehensive listing of testing capacity did not come out until now. Original delays were problems with the test, again s*t happens. I do not directly blame the administration. But a coordinated response with test capacity listing should have been compiled and updated daily, starting back in Feb when tests became available. Now we are holding daily briefings so why did it take this long to map test capacity, and have daily updates? Yes, it is a little complicated, no it’s not impossible, computers and spreadsheets are useful. And the current administration is still blaming the Obama administration for inheriting poor testing on the virus. Covid 19 was not identified until 2019! One more example of B.S coming out of the current administration.
Continuing B. S. on testing: The Abbott machine that has been talked about many times as if is the greatest device for testing and how it greatly increased testing capacity. Don’t get me wrong, it is probably a great little machine. It was designed for a doctor office or small clinic so that when a sick person comes to office, a swab can be taken and before they leave you can have a result for flu, strep throat etc. It has been adapted for covid 19. This test takes about 15 min and you run 1 test at a time, so you can do 4 tests/hr and if you run it 24 hours a day, you can do almost 100 tests per day. However, remember these machines are located in doctor offices which are not staffed 24 hrs a day. The devices were also designed for a fresh swab, basically straight from nares to machine. So even if you were able to staff the machine to run 24 hours a day, you would either have to have people coming every 15 mins to get swabbed 24 hrs a day or you need to store the swabs until you get to them. For a virus test being sent to a lab you generally stick the swab in a liquid to keep it from drying out. This dilutes the sample and this produces false negatives in the Abbott machine. These samples work ok, in the large capacity analyzers.
Again, this false negative item is not misinformation from unknown sources or media propaganda. This info is direct from the Abbott website: Abbott.com
So yes, I quietly scream B.S every time the machine is mentioned. It is just not designed to handle an epidemic.
And then there is personal protective equipment (ppe) that healthcare workers need. Did you read the article in NEJM? It was posted on facebook:
Thanks to a poorly coordinated response, hospital systems, states and federal government all bid on needed masks! The price used to be less than 1 dollar per mask. Another yay for free market, they now cost 6x that much. Even Richard Nixon knew that sometimes price freezes were needed. But not this administration. Yes, this is something the emergency declaration could have and should have responded to, price gouging should never have been allowed. Every time, I hear someone rattle off all the numbers of masks, another silent scream of B.S. Right now, April 2020, my daughter, an OR nurse gets 1 mask per day, wipe it with alcohol between patients, keep it in a bag. This is a person that intubates patients, she is right there in the airway. In an ideal situation, masks are changed between every patient. And yes, a hospital needs a lot of masks! If you are taking care of just 3 patients in isolation, you, in the good old days, would put a fresh mask on, take care of patient A, put a clean mask on for patient B, and another for patient C. You are trying not to spread whatever patient A has to patient B or to yourself. And you take care of each patient multiple times in a 8-12 hour shift. So, if you need to be in close contact with 3 infectious patients only 3x a day, 3x3=9 masks for 1 nurse. Math again. Yes, infection prevention requires resources.
What contributed to the poor response? Some potential items:
From the top, the commander in chief had no administrative experience, he has a real estate and entertainment background, vastly different skill set. He has not been able to surround himself with top people. Right now, Jared Kushner oversees medical supply acquisition. He too is real estate guy, this is not his area of expertise. No matter how well intentioned, he is not the right person. Other possibilities include the fact that the head of our global health security resigned and his team disbanded in 2018. I know it is hard for some of you to believe but the government needs good people to function and provide vital services.
I also blame the folks that kept calling it a hoax, or no worse than a cold, long after it was clear that it was dangerous. Read an account of an EMS 1st responder answering 12 fatal covid cases in 1 day and then pretend its just a cold, or no worse than a seasonal flu. In NYC, EMS calls per day were highest ever recorded. Usual 3000, now 7000. Yes, it is worse than the seasonal flu. So please activate your B.S detector. Maybe, they do not cover this on your TV station. This article is from a business paper as far as I know, not some liberal mainstream media. (And if you think this is a rarity, you should see all the ones on reputable medical websites, pretty graphic, complete with body bag counts).
I could go on for several more pages, but not sure if you are still paying attention. I try to talk to you but it gets harder every day.
Love, from that liberal your brother married.